Ottawa students denounce ‘humiliating’ enforcement of dress code

About 500 students came out of their classrooms, placards in hand, to demand explanations as to how this physical examination took place. The students invaded the floor and Avenue Provence, located in front of the school.

The students held up signs during the demonstration.

The students held up signs during the demonstration.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

Police officers were quickly called in by the management of the establishment to provide security. A young man, who is not a student at Béatrice-Desloges, was handcuffed and placed under arrest by officers. He was escorted off the school grounds and later released.

Police were called in as reinforcements during the protest.

Police were called in as reinforcements during the protest.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

Humiliating methods, students say

After having had discussions with employees and following the appearance of good weather, the management of Béatrice-Desloges secondary school proceeded, on Thursday, to a blitz during which staff impromptuly checked the clothing of their students.

The students allege that the staff acted in a discriminatory manner by selecting mostly girls when checking them. They were reportedly asked to lean forward and touch their toes to check if underwear was visible.

Two young girls are wearing pants that are too short.

The management of Béatrice-Desloges school judges that certain outfits are inappropriate.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

Some students claim that they were asked to raise their leg at 90 degrees and that a ruler was used to measure the length of their skirts and shorts.

Other students allege that they were disturbed in the middle of a school exam session to conduct an evaluation of their clothing and that the cell phones of students who did not respect the school rules were confiscated.

Two young girls are holding signs

Noudyna Pierre and Marie Frangie denounce the application of the dress code of their school.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

Burned and angry students

Many students complained about the way the management proceeded to make these checks. They say they are degrading and humiliating.

What they did to me yesterday was unacceptable. It made me anxious. I was in shockcomplained Ava Cléroux, a student in the ninth grade who was the subject of such an examination. I saw fifty girls [alignées dans le corridor] — all girls, no guys — and there were a lot of them crying.

Alyssa Cousineau, Camilia Richards and Ava Cléroux denounce

Alyssa Cousineau, Camilia Richards and Ava Cléroux denounce “the blitz” carried out in their school on Thursday.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

They made everyone in the class stand up, but they only looked at the girls, and it was a gentleman, not a lady who was looking at us. So that made us really uncomfortable.adds Danica Basavage. It was really just sexist.

I think the dress code should change, as it only applies to girls. »

A quote from Camilia Richards, grade 9 student

Alyssa Cousineau argues that the school’s dress code is discriminatory because, on the one hand, there are hardly any mid-thigh shorts for girls in stores and, secondly, some pants may appear shorter on girls who have long legs.

Students demonstrating in front of Béatrice-Desloges secondary school

Students demonstrating in front of Béatrice-Desloges secondary school

Photo: Radio-Canada / Angie Bonenfant

Students report that management targeted certain overweight people because their clothing created more distraction than on a thin person.

Being told because you’re overweight that you shouldn’t wear shorts is not something we want in our learning environmentdenounces Sophie Browning, a student in 9th grade. It’s shocking.

It’s not the dress code that’s shocking, but the way they went about enforcing the rules. »

A quote from Sylvie Nisula, mother of a student at Béatrice-Desloges

I was so disappointed, surprised, enraged just to think that they did this to the studentslaunched still in shock Sylvie Nisula, the mother of a student at Béatrice-Desloges, who came to attend the demonstration.

We leave our children here. They’re supposed to encourage an end to bullying and sexism, but that’s all our kids experienced, yesterday, by management and more!

There will be changes, the board promises

The demonstration, which was scheduled for 11:35 a.m., lasted well beyond lunchtime. Around 1:30 p.m., the students showed no sign of wanting to leave the premises.

The superintendent of education at the Conseil des écoles catholiques du Centre-Est (CECCE) dispatched to the scene, finally addressed the demonstrators and made a my culpa which seems to have appeased the spirits.

We have just spoken to the students to tell them that their voice had been heard and then that what happened yesterday, at the level of the blitz, there are things to correct and rectify.

It is important to tell the students that they have the right to demonstrate. It is a fundamental right in Canada. We also wanted to tell them that we are collaborating »

A quote from Jason Dupuis, Superintendent of Education, CECCE

Certainly, there will be changes — that’s clear — in the way the code is appliedhe promised.

There are things in the way we do the verifications that will certainly change. If there are regulations that need to change, we will look at this with the administration, the parents and the students to make the necessary changes.assured Jason Dupuis, the superintendent of education at the CECCE.

The board is still investigating to determine the circumstances surrounding Thursday’s physical examination.

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